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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2011;4(8):742-747.

Original Article
β-catenin expression in benign and malignant pleural disorders

Waseem Anani, Richard Bruggeman, Dani S Zander

Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA; Department of Pathology, Penn State College of Medicine/Penn State M. S. Hershey Medical
Center, Hershey, PA, USA

Received October 14, 2011; accepted October 26, 2011; Epub October 30, 2011; Published November 30, 2011

Abstract: Benign and malignant pleural processes display a large and overlapping spectrum of morphological appearances, and can be
difficult to distinguish, histologically, from each other. β-catenin, a participant in the wingless-type (Wnt) transduction pathway, is involved in the
pathogenesis of malignant mesothelioma and has received limited evaluation for its ability to serve as a diagnostic aid for distinguishing
between individual pleural disorders. We performed immunohistochemistry for β-catenin on 10 pleural malignant mesotheliomas, 10
examples of mesothelial hyperplasia and 18 cases of organizing pleuritis. Although differences were noted in staining intensity between the
mesothelioma and mesothelial hyperplasia groups, extensiveness and cellular location were similar. Staining intensity (mean +/- s.d.) in
mesotheliomas (2.00 +/- 0.67) was significantly less intense than in mesothelial hyperplasia cases (3.00 +/- 0.00) (p=0.0005). Stromal cell
staining was cytoplasmic in all cases, and endothelial cell staining was membranous, submembranous and cytoplasmic. Nuclear expression
of β-catenin was not observed in any of the cases studied. This lack of nuclear staining in the stromal cells of organizing pleuritis differs
markedly from the previously reported high frequencies of nuclear β-catenin expression in other pleural spindle cell proliferations (desmoid
tumors and solitary fibrous tumors). In summary, the current study adds to previous work indicating a role for β-catenin in the genesis of pleural
conditions including organizing pleuritis, mesothelial hyperplasia and malignant mesothelioma. Although IHC for β-catenin does not appear to
be conclusive for separating benign from malignant mesothelial proliferations, it may be valuable for assisting in the differential diagnosis of
mesothelial and spindle cell proliferations in the pleura.
(IJCEP11100003).

Keywords: β-catenin, mesothelioma, pleura, mesothelial hyperplasia, Wnt

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Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Dani S Zander
Penn State M. S. Hershey Medical Center
Department of Pathology, 500 University Drive, Box 850, MC H083
Hershey, PA, USA.
Tel: 717-531-8351, Fax: 717-531-5021
E-mail: dzander@hmc.psu.edu